US pledges new aid to Ukraine

The continued invasion of Ukraine is having consequences all across the world
Antony Blinken is America's Secretary of State. His job is reaching out to other countries on behalf of the US. (ID 263109370 © Cateyeperspective | )

Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that his country would be increasing their aid to Ukraine. (Secretary of State is the top diplomat, or representative to other nations, in the US government.)

During a visit to Ukraine's capital city, Kyiv, Blinken said that over an additional $1 billion US worth of military equipment and assistance was being donated. Ukraine needs these funds and supplies to be able to continue defending itself from invasion by its powerful neighbour, Russia.

A costly war

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Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy has had to lead his country through one of the most difficult periods in its history. (Getty Embed)

Russia started its invasion of Ukraine in late February of 2022. (Though Russian forces had actually attacked and claimed an area of Ukraine called Crimea in 2014, 2022 was when it began an invasion of the entire country.)

The war, which has been going on for over a year and a half, has been extremely costly for Ukraine. This cost has taken many forms—damage to buildings and structures, money for weapons and war vehicles, and most tragically, in the lives lost during fighting.

Led by their president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian resolve and spirit has remained high. But the financial cost of the war is too great for Ukraine to shoudler on their own. This is why outside aid is so welcome.

In total, the US had spent more than $75 billion on aid to Ukraine since the war began. Canada has spent around $8 billion, and many other countries around the world have joined in, such as Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy. (Together, these and other democratic nations are known as "The West".)

Why are they so eager to help?

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Canada's Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is one of millions of Canadians with Ukrainian heritage. (Getty Embed)

These countries are stepping forward for a variety of reasons. Some of them, like Canada, have long had strong ties with Ukrainians.

Canada has over 1.36 million people of Ukrainian heritage living there, or about 4 percent of the total population. (People who trace their heritage to a country other than the one that they live in are known as a diaspora.)

Canada has one of the largest Ukrainian populations in the world. Even the deputy prime minister of Canada, Chrystia Freeland, is a member of the Ukrainian diaspora.

Old enemies

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By 1987, Russian (Soviet) leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US president Ronald Reagan had gone from enemies to hopeful partners. (Getty Embed)

Another reason so many countries wish to support Ukraine is because they see them as a country with similar values to them. Over the past two decades, Ukraine has grown closer to the West.

Western nations also do not trust Russia.

During the Second World War, Russia and the United Staes were actually allies, or partners. But by the 1950s, the two nations had a very poor relationship where they became enemies. Though they did not fight directly against each other, their conflict was powerful enough that it became known as the Cold War.

By the late 1980s, that relationship slowly began to change. The US and Russia even worked together on numerous research and scientific projects, like the International Space Station (ISS). It looked as though a new age of partnership between the old enemies would start.

But in 1999, Russia gained a new leader, Vladimir Putin. Over nearly 25 years of rule, Putin has patiently led his country back to a position of disagreement with the United States and the West. By the time of the invasion of Ukraine, many experts have stated that a new Cold War has arrived.

New players

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On Wednesday, September 13, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un traveled to Russia to meet with its leader, Vladimir Putin. (Getty Embed)

But this new Cold War is not just one between Russia and the West.

Russia has support from China, which is seen by many to now be one of the most powerful countries in the world.

And just this week, Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, traveled to meet with Putin to offer his own support to Russia and its invasion. North Korea is a country that is full of secrecy. It receives very few visitors and also has a strained, or tense, relationship with the West. This gesture by Kim is a big event for North Korea and something many world leaders are paying attention to.

On the ground, the war in Ukraine is mostly still being fought by soldiers from Ukraine and Russia. But like most large conflicts in the world, there are many countries behind the scenes, offering support to one side or the other.

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